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Women's and Gender Studies Program

Micah Carpenter

Micah Carpenter chose the College of Charleston because she believed this was where she could make a difference. Sure, the beauty of the campus was compelling, and Charleston wasn’t far from home. “But really,” she says, “I wanted to be in a place that values activism, and Charleston is definitely is that kind of place.”

Activism is at the core of the women’s and gender studies major (WGS). This program teaches you to formulate your own opinions regarding important issues – power, justice, family, sexuality, gender roles, race and class – and through community involvement, you’ll learn how to test practical applications of those opinions in real-world situations.

Like other WGS students, Micah engaged in lively classroom discussions involving complex cultural issues and controversies – from historical to contemporary – that teach students to think on their feet. Yes, WGS can strengthen your writing, critical thinking, oral presentation, teamwork and leadership skills – all of which will help you compete in today’s evolving job market. But it will also give you perspective on the value of diversity, relationships and coalition building and teach you to communicate across differences in background and viewpoint. Few areas of study do this so directly.

Want to learn how mass media reinforces gender roles? Check out WGS. Want some context for why only 15 percent of world leaders are women, or why some cultures limit women’s property rights? WGS can help with that, too.

And, a required, semester-long internship will connect the vital issues you learn about in class to what is actually going on in the world around you. For Micah, this meant serving as the volunteer coordinator at the Charleston Women’s Medical Center for the better part of a year, and spending a semester helping elementary school children learn about media literacy. “That experience with school age kids was unusual because it wasn’t just an internship, but also part of an independent study I did.”

So, if you’re interested in understanding the dynamics of society from a fresh perspective; if you’re like Micah and want to learn in a context that will encourage and empower you to examine the world and begin to make a difference, then check out WGS. Ultimately, it can lead you to become a more engaged and responsible citizen for the 21st century.

Program Information

Women's and Gender Studies graduates gain analytical skills and communication abilities, along with a sense of engagement in public affairs. They end up in a broad spectrum of careers.

Variety

More than 40 faculty members from a variety of disciplines teach classes in this program. That variety gives you tremendous latitude in the choice of subject areas.

Examples of the range of courses that WGS majors take include:

  • Gender, Theory and Law: Sexual Harassment
  • Images of Women in Classical Antiquity
  • Anthropology of Gender
  • African Women Writers

Internships

Internship experiences can lead to personal development, a strong sense of civic engagement and important professional contacts. Recently, WGS students have interned at:

  • Skirt! magazine
  • Lowcountry Children’s Center
  • Alliance for Full Acceptance
  • YWCA
  • Northwoods Public Health Clinic
  • My Sister’s House
  • Office of the Solicitor, Ninth Judicial Circuit